For our latest ‘Talking Fragrance with…’ interview we caught up with master perfumer Alice Lavenat, creator of KoEptYs, the first fragrance for men from Nejma. Alice works for heritage perfume house Jean Niel, based in Grasse. In 2014 Alice was awarded Young Perfumer Creator of the Year by the French Society of Perfumers. Her creation, based around the challenging ingredient Blackcurrant Bud Absolute, is now better known as Le Parfum d’Alice and has enjoyed widespread success.
What fragrance are you wearing today? I am actually wearing one of the fragrances I am currently working on for my client Nejma but I’m afraid it is confidential so I can’t tell you what it is!
And is that your favourite fragrance right now? I have to say that in my job as a perfumer, my favourite scent is generally the one that I am working on at the time……..
What was the first fragrance that you bought? I am not sure whether I actually bought it myself but the fragrance that I remember most clearly is Hot Couture by Givenchy which I wore during my last years at university
What direction do you think fragrance is moving in at the moment? This is quite a difficult question….fruity and gourmand fragrances are very definitely still very popular. I also think that what everyone is looking for is a fragrance that has strength and is really long lasting, its something I hear all the time. When it comes to male fragrances people are looking for more multi-faceted fragrances than they used to, a little bit of fruitiness, a touch of gourmand……lots going on.
We know what you like in fragrance but are there any particular fragrance families that you don’t like or that don’t work for you? In my work I sometimes have to work with things that I don’t particularly like. I really have to put aside my own personal taste and put myself in the shoes of the customer although that said, the notes that I’m not particularly fond of are animalic as I find them quite rough and dark.
Who is your favourite perfumer? I really like Christine Nagel’s work especially the things she has done for Hermes. I think that Twilly is a fragrance that carries the Hermes signature but with the Christine Nagel touch!
Where do you usually buy fragrance? Do you have a favourite store? I have to be honest, I don’t really buy fragrance very often! I go shopping when there is new fragrances that I’m curious to smell but I don’t have a particular destination store.
Have you ever bought fragrance without smelling it first? I always smell things first!!
How many fragrances do you own? I used to collect fragrance bottles and I have them all displayed at home but I couldn’t tell you how many I have – loads!!
When I smell Eau de Cologne it reminds me of playing with my sisters and cousins in the countryside. When we got stung by nettles my grandmother used to spray us with eau de cologne. I don’t think it actually did any good but psychologically it made us feel better!